It's not the worst movie I've ever seen. (That's a spot still pinned down twitching by Queen of the Damned.) According to the people I saw it with, it wasn't even the worst movie released this year. (They cited Riddick and Catwoman, both of which I was clever enough to elude on the strength of previews and buzz.)
Well, I was the sacrificial chicken this time.
I won't be spoilering. You can't spoiler that which has no plot, so I shall not trouble myself with a cut tag.
I had low expectations going in. I figured hey, some pretty CGI, some pretty Jude Law, some pretty Angelina Jolie, alles gut, yes? That whirring sound you hear isn't Sky Captain's propellor revving, though; it's the sound of Sir Lawrence Olivier spinning in his grave.
Let's just say that the logical stance of the movie is summed up in the first fifteen minutes, where it becomes evident that the annoyingly grainy, sepia-toned, and migraine-inducingly high-contrast Sky Captain is fact protecting the City of New York and his annoyingly grainy, sepia-toned, and migraine-inducingly high-contrast girlfriend from his secret base amid the impassable mountains of Long Island. And I'm only talking about the directing, here--the visual look of the film, while pretty for the length of the very cool snowy Zeppelin-pr0n establishing shots (mmm. Zeppelins.), rapidly becomes the visual equivalent of doing the cannonball into a Joyce novel.
The plot, alas, was nothing so coherent as Ulysses. After that establishing sequence, the movie rapidly degenerates into a rapidfire tour of a series of sets and setpieces recycled from better films. Like the 2000 Godzilla. Seriously.
Only it was funnier when Hank Azaria did it.
I also recognized Rivendell, a Starfleet spacedock, a couple of Indiana Jones movies, Dagobah, a Mole-Man subsurface borer, and David McCallum's infamous Yeti costume from "The Abominable Snowman Affair." Also, the Wizard of Oz jokes weren't funny. The Ray Harryhausen jokes were better. Marginally.
If you really feel the need to suffer this level of gratuitous badness, may I suggest the Avengers remake movie? It's just as bad, and available for rental for considerably less than whatever you'd pay for this thing in the theatre.
I do not recommend this movie for those with a family history of seizure disorder; it did provoke autistic rocking behavior in at least one member of our viewing party. And the Gwyneth Paltrow protagonist was so annoying that there was scattered sarcastic applause at one point, when she got punched in the face. However, Angelina Jolie playing Col. Nick Fury after the sex change operation was amusing.
Wow, that was bad.